Watsons Hong Kong Launches Citywide ‘Plastic Reborn’ Container Recycling Program With P&G

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Watsons Hong Kong, the health, beauty and pharmacy chain, has rolled out a new territory-wide plastic container recycling campaign. Partnering with multinational CPG industry giant P&G, Watsons will provide convenient collection points across the city and work with Hong Kong-based circular economy service The Loops to send plastic personal care containers to a local recycling facility in Tuen Mun. 

Launched on Tuesday March 9, the new “Plastic Reborn” partnership campaign between Watsons and P&G will see the health and pharmacy chain’s widespread store network across the city serve as a collection point for recycling plastic containers. Working with The Loops, who will send the collected plastic personal care containers to New Life Plastics in Tuen Mun’s Eco Park, Watsons Hong Kong says that the new initiative aims to “take the lead in driving the circular economy from the retail market”. 

With over 230 stores in Hong Kong and Macau, of which over 50 locations have in-store pharmacies, Watsons Hong Kong is one of the largest health, beauty and pharmaceutical retailers in the city, only trailing closely behind Dairy Farm-owned Mannings with its 350 outlets. Watsons Hong Kong is a subsidiary of the world’s largest international health and beauty retailer A.S. Watson Group, which is owned by Li Ka-shing’s CK Hutchison. 

The latest plastic recycling campaign takes aim at Hong Kong’s rising waste disposal and recovery rates, much of it driven by single-use products and packaging. In 2019, EPD data showed that the average waste disposal rate per person in Hong Kong has reached the highest levels since records began in 1991

We would like to unite efforts from the public, business community and recycling companies, in encouraging consumers to join Plastic Reborn.

Samuel Lee, Managing Director, Watsons Hong Kong

Recycling is a particularly thorny issue in the city, with a journalistic investigation in June 2020 shockingly revealing that plastic bottles collected in recycling bins at residential housing estates have been sent to landfills.

Watsons says that offering Hong Kong residents a territory-wide solution to drop off their recyclable containers will lead to the recovery of approximately 110,000 containers within the next 12 months, with the “variety and volume of recyclables [to] gradually increase in next two years.”

Their program also hopes to “enhance citizens’ environmental sustainability mindfulness, as well as to build public trust in the feasibility of plastic recycling,” given rising skepticism from local communities over whether their returned containers will really end up being reintroduced into the supply chain. 

This is our first large scale recycling partnership covering the entire Hong Kong.

Jorch Wong, Founder, The Loops

Samuel Lee, managing director of Watsons Hong Kong, said during the press conference to announce the campaign: “Leveraging Watsons’ extensive recycling network…we would like to unite efforts from the public, business community and recycling companies, in encouraging consumers to join Plastic Reborn.” 

“This is our first large scale recycling partnership covering the entire Hong Kong. We hope the partnership can help the city develop a sustainable and circular business solution,” added Jorch Wong, founder of The Loops. “We hold a firm belief that by extending our service to different districts, Plastic Reborn can take the lead to promote recycling in the easiest way to consumers’ everyday li[ves] and to practice what is preached towards sustainable living and a circular economy.”

Lead image courtesy of Watsons Hong Kong / P&G. 

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